Wanderlei Silva UFCThe date and opponent of Wanderlei Silva’s next fight has been a hot topic since he destroyed Keith Jardine at UFC 84. Last we heard, Silva was wanting to wait till December to fight again, while the UFC was looking at October. Well, according to Dana White, ‘The Axe Murderer’ will be making his return to the Octagon sooner than we thought.

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva recently recorded a scintillating victory over Keith Jardine in just over 30 seconds. After turning down an opportunity to face Brandon Vera on July 19 due to short notice, Silva now has a plan on when he will step back into the Octagon.

It will be in September, according to White. The opponent is not known at this point.

Two UFC events are scheduled to take place in September—UFC 88 on Sept. 6 and Ultimate Fight Night 15 on Sept. 17. White did not specify which card Silva would be competing on. Silva is undoubtedly a pay-per-view caliber fighter, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t use him to headline a free card on Spike TV to get him more exposure. UFC 88 is already shaping up to be the one of the biggest UFC pay-per-view events of the year, with a tentative card of Chuck Liddell vs Rashad Evans, Rich Franklin vs Matt Hamill, Dan Henderson vs Rousimar Palhares, and potentially Anderson Silva defending his middleweight title against Yushin Okami. Adding Wandy to that event just sounds too good to be true.

While nothing is official, Thiago Silva is believed to be the leading candidate to step inside the cage with Wandy. Apparently Wanderlei was given the choice to fight Thiago or Lyoto Machida, and he picked the former. Plans change though.

We’ll have to wait and see where the chips fall.

[UPDATE 7/12/08] – With Quinton Jackson’s knee no longer a concern, Sam Caplan has reason to believe that Silva/Jackson III is now a possibility.

While nothing is official, there have been credible rumblings that Jackson might be offered an opportunity in the fall to avenge a pair of previous losses to Wanderlei Silva that took place in PRIDE in 2003 and 2004.

Whether both fighters will agree to the bout remains to be seen, but don’t be surprised if that’s the next matchup the UFC attempts to make for them.

A third clash between Silva and Jackson is the type of fight that can draw a strong buy rate on pay-per-view even without a title being on the line. In addition to UFC 89 in the UK this October, the UFC is tentatively looking at running a second major show that month in the U.S. followed by another major U.S. show in November. If that proves to be the plan, the UFC will need fights that can headline those pay-per-views, and Silva vs. Jackson would address one part of that problem.

Plans are alway subject to change so if this is the direction the UFC is going in, Wanderlei Silva returning in September would be unlikely. Silva/Jackson III would be a waste on UFN 15, UFC 88 already has too many big fights, and it wouldn’t give Jackson a fair amount of time to prepare. As Caplan stated, this fight would likely take place in October or November, if it gets booked.